Fire destroys

2018-07-03 06:00
Some of the damage caused by a fire in Salt River last week, displacing a number of people.PHOTO: Shane knoll

Some of the damage caused by a fire in Salt River last week, displacing a number of people.PHOTO: Shane knoll

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A fire razed a number of shacks and displaced numerous residents in the Salt River area last Tuesday (26 June).

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Theo Layne, says a team of 14 fire fighters with two fire engines, a water tanker and a rescue vehicle, responded to the incident at 19:38. Layne says in the end 12 informal structures were destroyed and about 50 people were displaced.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still not known.

Woodstock police confirmed the incident. “A fire broke out at an informal settlement under the Salt River bridge situated in Foundry Road. A number of shacks burned to the ground but no one was injured. It is still not clear how the fire started at this stage. Fire and rescue services extinguished the blaze, but could not save any structure,” says police spokesperson, Sergeant Hilton Malila.

A resident, Shane Knoll, witnessed the destruction. He says: “(On Tuesday) night there was a fire under the Salt River bridge that flattened the makeshift homes of the group of people that live beside the railway line. Fire fighters arrived just after 20:00 as the blaze started just before 20:00.

“Three fire trucks attempted to put out the blaze and as soon as they thought it was under control, another small fire would start up. They battled for over an hour,” said Knoll.

Apparently the homes belong to homeless people who had started using the spot as shelter and started erecting makeshift shelters.

Knoll says: “It is my understanding that each year the makeshift homes are razed in a fire, which is very unfortunate. But with limited affordable housing in the Salt River/Woodstock area and the area mostly housing working class families, there is no place for these people to go.”

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